Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Letter to Myself

My therapist and I talked about anger last week. I used to have a friend that said if you don’t let anger out it will start coming out your neck. As in, it will come out in all sorts of strange ways. Maybe that’s what is happening to me. Why I cannot take care of myself. Why I can’t get back into meditating, can’t excerise, can’t quit smoking.

He suggested I write a letter to the ex. A letter I never send, you know those kinds of letters. The get scary honest ones. I added on to it and suggested adding my man to the list. My man that I’ve been on and off with for over a year. I called him my new passive aggression target. The funny thing is, when I started composing the letters in my head, the anger always came back to one person: me. The Queenpin. The head of this organization. The one who has made all decisions that have lead me to this point in my life. My good, sweet life, but a life that has had some serious heartache, and a little bit of struggle. My choices have gotten me on the path that I am on. The buck stops here baby, and sometimes that is fucking hard to take.

So I decided to write a letter to myself first before I wrote to anyone else. A letter of forgiveness and recognition. A letter to help me move forward. A letter to give myself a break, so maybe I can stop punishing myself passive aggressively and start honoring myself lovingly.  So here it is ladies and gentleman (there’s gotta be atleast one guy reading this blog) a letter to myself:

(Mother Mary's here as the most forgiving, patient mama I know. She's here to support me as I try to stop giving myself shit)

I forgive you girl, for always ignoring the signs, and choosing men that will cause you heartache,
I forgive you girl for treating your body less like a temple and more like a landfill,
I forgive you girl for making mistake, after mistake, after mistake,
I forgive you for being a human being,
I forgive you for being a spoiled, shrieking, banshee brat,
I forgive you for giving in, being a coward, not speaking up,
I forgive you for your dramatics,
I forgive your procrastination and disorganization, your never-ending need for chaos,
I forgive your imperfect mothering, your anger, your worry, your laziness,
I forgive you girl, I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you,

I love you girl for always getting back up and trying again,
I am amazed sweet girl, by your capacity to love, and your willingness to open your heart,
I respect you girl for making the best of things even when it looks, smells, and tastes like shit,
I honor you girl for doing your best, and admitting your mistakes,
I appreciate the creativity that explodes and flows into every crack of your life,
I see you loving your kids and doing your best, I see your fear, I see your faith, I see your fierce mama bear heart,
Be kind to yourself beautiful girl, courageous woman, searching soul

Rest, accept, appreciate, love, breathe,
Live this life, 
It is short, it is temporary, 
It is yours to do with as you wish.

The Queenpin

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Embrace Your Food Baby

A few weeks ago some friends and I got together and did an amazing thing, we let ourselves be photographed, and not just any old photos but photos of our bodies. That my goombas, is amazing. It is amazing is because many of the women I know do not like their bodies, or they have shame about something on their bodies. Or something on their bodies reminds them of something that makes them feel shame, so that most of the time they feel uncomfortable in their skin and miss out on the miracle that is carrying their soul around. By them, I mean me, by their bodies, I mean mine.

Body hatred makes me so overwhelmingly sad.  I ache for me and my ladies, and our beautiful bodies, that we treat like some second hand pair of high water kaki's we've been forced to wear for eternity. I have an acupuncture teacher who reminds his students constantly that you have to be careful with people's bodies, everyone has some kind of body hang up. We degrade, we obsess, we ignore. Yesterday I was thinking about this post and I imagined my body as a little girl. In my mind's eye I saw my little girl with a mass of bed head, a huge ole' rats nest. She looked like the classic movie example of a neglected child. Gray, sack dress, filthy face, hollow eyes. Then I thought about the times that I do pay attention to her and she looked like one of those poor babies on Toddlers and Tiaras. Stuffed into some uncomfortable dress, uncomfortable shoes, tight lipped smile. "See me," her eyes begged. My poor body.

When my ladies came over we were all nervous to get started. Not sure what we were doing, each one of us carefully stepped into the project. But as I knew would happen, once we began to share ideas and stories everyone loosened up and the dam burst. The miracle began. Creativity flowed, laughter rang through the house, and clothes were shed. Every time the camera clicked it fed our souls, each word written on flesh empowered us to look  at ourselves and rejoice a little. We opened ourselves up and were fed by each other's experience and love. It was truly a group project, each woman sharing equally, and receiving equally. Each woman embracing her body, and giving it a high five. Afterward one of the women posted on Facebook: Walked away with a little more swag! :~) more swing in my big hips, chest out even more, & no worries about the "extras" 'round the middle! Can You Handle ALL of This!!! ;~D  

Love yourself, rejoice in your beauty as it is now.

A special thanks so my friend Lisa, who photographed us and spent hours editing them with me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

If You're Gonna Grab Life by the Balls....

It was a moment of divine intervention. A moment when the words coming out of my mouth were not my own, but words of something with much more spiritual wisdom than I have. Savior Single Mama and I sat on her porch talking about LIFE. She was talking about all the shit going on in hers and by shit, I mean bullshit. At one point she stopped, with tears streaming down her face and said, "I mean, do I bring all of this drama in my life?" And then my mouth opened and this spiritual thought flew out, "If you're going to grab life by the balls, sometimes you're gonna get a little stinky taint." and then we cracked up laughing at the truth of it.

Drama Queens, maybe that is what we are, but I prefer to think of us as women who want to soak up the marrow of life. We are not women who aspire to be on reality t.v. We do not start ridiculous fights just to feel the adrenaline flow, we just want to live hard and laugh hard and love hard.

Sassy Single Mama is in that category too. It amazes me how three such similar women have found each other. We get each other. We let each other make our mistakes, and rejoice in the mistakes as well as the successes, because we know the good and the bad make our lives more juicy, more lived. And sometimes that is not pretty, but it's rich, and gooey and feels like it has a chocolate center. Mmmm-mmm.

So I'll say it again, and I encourage you to live it: If you're going to grab life by the balls, sometimes you're going to get a little stinky taint. It's okay go with it, you can always wash the stink off later.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Love You Even as You Slice Away

Lately I've had some run-ins with addiction and let me tell you it is a shitty thing. Loving someone who is addicted is watching that person slice pieces off themselves until they are a pile of rotting slop. Addiction is the cruelest way to die. Addiction is the saddest way to live. There is nothing beautiful about someone filling their soul with poison, except that beautiful person. Addicts, they shine so bright for intense, beautiful, brief moments. The people who love addicts spend their lives chasing that bright spark like a crack high.

A person who loves an addict will pick through the carpet, flip over the couch, search the deepest recesses of the nastiest closet to find the addict's spark again. It is exhausting, yet, so exhilarating when you see it again. When the addict's light shines on you, it is like a glimpse of heaven. So it is always so shocking when the light fades and the addict quickly slides into hell, pulling on your ankles and screaming your name. What will you grab onto to keep you from falling into the depths? You better hope you still have yourself baby, (that addict will snort that up his nose too) because that's all you've got. That and the Buddhas are the only things keeping you out of hell.

I talked to three people this week who love addicts. The Queenpin's got a few she loves too. All of us, the addict lovers, we love them fiercely, we love them deeply, we have had the light shine on us, and like good little crackheads we are waiting for it to shine on us again. Or some of us are done. We have been burned so many times by the light,  our fingers sore from mantras, our arms aching from having to grab onto ourselves and not be dragged into the depth of hell. Again. We free ourselves from the grip.

But the addict lovers, we watch, we see them there over in the corner bleeding and bruised. Even though we hide our eyes, we peek and see the flash of silver, hear the flesh fall as the addict continues to slice. A little piece here, a little piece there. No more flesh, only bone. No more bone, only guts. And with all the strength of an Amazon this one time, we refuse to pick up the pieces. We realize that even the most colorful duct tape can't help this time. Humpty Dumpty was an addict. Didn't you know? The King knew.

I know lots of amazing people who have overcome addiction. They put themselves back together slowly piece by piece. After awhile their scars barely show. And they shine with a wisdom of someone who has kissed the lips of hell and lived to tell the tale. I love them deeply, fiercely, and without fear.  I do not walk away, and I rejoice in their light.

However, being with them is bittersweet because I see the promise of what could be for my addicted loves. Sober addicts are like Barbies that survived years of abuse by a twisted child. Their head had been shaved, their bodies positions so many ways the metal rods popped out of their knees, their clothes Sharpied up. Yet they somehow regrew that synthetic hair, put some New Skin on their knees, and found a mighty nice duct tape suit.

Sober addicts survived and then they thrived, but not everyone can recover from something like that. And that brutal truth kicks my ovaries in and scares me worse than zombies. It also makes me so sad I cannot express it, and that is saying a lot for a woman who likes to express things as much as I do.

So here the Queenpin sits. Eyes covered watching the razor slice, and waiting. Hoping and praying  the addicts I love to find some duct tape to tape those slivers back on. Hoping I have a strong enough sense of self to hold myself up out of hell. Hoping Sober Barbie and Ken will share their magic pixie dust, scored from Tinker Bell, that when snorted up, makes you well.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

School Daze

On Monday morning I sat with two mamas and had coffee. To an onlooker there were three shell shocked ladies sitting at a table, eyes wide and bewildered, how did we get here?
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We had just dropped our kids off for their first day of school. We all had different reasons for our shocked expressions. Sassy Single Mama's preschooler had clung to her at the door screaming and crying as if she was sending him of to be eaten by lions (actually he might have been more excited by that). 

My neighbor We Can Do It Mama (she reminds me of that WWI poster with Rosie the Riveter), had put her son on a bus before the sun rose, and walked her two beautiful girls down to our neighborhood school. On the way one begged to be home schooled and the other's steps became as heavy as lead. The pictures We Can Do It Mama took will forever show her 5 year old staring into the camera, her eyes screaming, "Mama, why?????" her face pulled down in sorrow as if she was being shipped overseas to live with some random relative that was going to teach her Victorian etiquette. 

My two beasties actually went in excited, quick hug, quick kiss, "Bye Mama". But for me, it was the first time in years that they would be in school without me, their Queenpin, teaching just a few doors away. 

The mamas talked for a bit, we shared our getting ready for school stories, we talked about other random stuff and then we went our separate ways to digest what we had just done. There was a part of each of us that was ready to get those kids out of the house, back into school, a schedule, a routine. But then there is that mama bear part, the primal instinct that wants to keep our cubs in our caves forever so we can eat anyone who so much as looks as them funny. 

I remember the life I had separate of my parents and it was huge. Each year it grew into something larger. When I was younger I remember the life I had outside of being my parents' child as magical and beautiful and sometimes scary. Especially when I was a teenager. My life was filled with emotion and passion for life (can you say drama queen?), it was full of stories and heartaches. It was filled with me coming into myself. That is something I could only do independent of my folks. They shaped me, they guided me, but in the end, I went out into that life and made it my own. 

Seven hours a day, five days a week of making their own lives, completely independent of me that's what my beasties have. It scares the shit out of me, and makes me excited for them. The opportunity to make mistakes and solve problems on their own. The pain of embarrassment. The sweetness and bitterness of 'liking' someone in your class. The thrill of being out from under who your mama thinks you are, and trying on different identities. What will fit for my beasties? Who will they decide they will be?  

This week I have loved curling up in bed with the beasties at bedtime and hearing their stories of the day. I love hearing about little beast's constant battle with the boy who may spit in her face at any minute. She tries to deal with him with compassion and a firm hand. I love that my boy tells me about his successes in math, but also that he shared his reward candy with a new candy-less friend who hadn't turned in his homework. There are thousands of moments I don't hear about too, and those moments are shaping the beasts for better or for worse.

I have seen both Sassy Single Mama and We Can Do It Mama this week and their eyes have returned to normal size. They are getting into the groove just like me. Their children are adjusting to being in school and are filled with their own stories of how they face the day. We are telling our mama bear selves that our little ones are okay out of the cave. We are trying to remind ourselves that we have given them the hearts, the claws, the teeth, and the imaginations to build lives of their own. And we have proven to our cubs that mama bear will always be back at the cave with the fire burning, the food cooking, the hugs ready, and an ass kicking for anyone who fucks with our brood.